Pregnancy After UFE
Many women suffering from uterine fibroids are concerned about the effect fibroids might have on a potential pregnancy and childbirth. We hear many questions, such as, “Will I be able to have kids? How can fibroids affect my pregnancy and future fertility? Am I at risk of a miscarriage?” Can you get pregnant after uterine fibroid embolization?”
Today, a quick and effective non-surgical procedure for removing uterine fibroids called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) can solve many problems for women with fibroids who want to become pregnant and carry full-term. Although there are many myths about pregnancy after UFE, there is no evidence or data to support them. As a matter of fact, the Atlanta Fibroid Center office has a wall full of thankful letters from happy mothers and photos of their miracle babies, all conceived after having a UFE procedure.
Can Fibroids Prevent Me From Having A Baby?
Although fibroids do not always cause infertility, they can pose certain risks for a woman who desires to have a baby. According to the Fertility Institute, the size and location of fibroids play a large role in whether they affect fertility or interfere with a full-term pregnancy or delivery.
If the fibroid is located inside the uterine cavity or has a diameter of more than 6 cm, then the probability of conception can be reduced to up to 70%. Studies have determined that fibroids located within the uterine cavity can interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg, and large fibroids or those located in certain areas of the uterus can alter the shape of the uterine cavity. This distortion can make it more challenging for a fertilized egg to implant and grow properly. In some cases, fibroids can impair ovulation, or if they develop near the fallopian tubes, they can squeeze them, causing a blockage that prevents the egg from reaching the uterus for fertilization.
If a successful conception occurs, fibroids can still pose risks for complications during pregnancy and delivery. The incidence of complications in pregnancies with fibroids ranges from 10% to 40%, and potential factors associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes include miscarriage, cesarean section delivery, preterm labor, abnormal fetal positioning, and postpartum hemorrhage.
Fibroids Can Grow Larger During Pregnancy
The growth of fibroids during pregnancy can vary from woman to woman and even from pregnancy to pregnancy. In some cases, fibroids can grow larger during pregnancy due to the increased levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone, which can promote their growth. There is an increased likelihood of fibroid growth during pregnancy for fibroids that are larger than 5 cm, and the majority of this growth typically takes place during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Pregnancy After Uterine Fibroid Embolization: Understand Your Options
Fibroids are a common condition among women of reproductive age, with estimates suggesting that anywhere from 20% to 50% of women currently have them. Additionally, it is believed that up to 77% of women will develop fibroids at some point during their childbearing years. It is common for many instances of fibroids to go undiagnosed because only about one-third of leiomyomas are usually large enough to be detected by a healthcare provider during a physical exam. The good news is that if you are diagnosed with fibroids and want to conceive, you may get pregnant after UFE (uterine fibroid embolization).
There has been a large amount of misinformation surrounding the UFE procedure and pregnancy; however, a healthy pregnancy and childbirth are possible after uterine fibroid embolization.
In 2017, the journal Radiology published the results of a six-year study in which 359 women with fibroids who could not get pregnant before the procedure participated. During the 6 years after having UFE, 149 women (41.5%) became pregnant at least once, and 131 women gave birth to a total of 150 children. This was the first pregnancy for more than 85% of these women.
UFE And Fertility
Researchers concluded that UFE can be recommended for women suffering from fibroids as a treatment option to restore fertility.
A recent study published in the International Journal of Biomedicine showed that the frequency of pregnancy complications in women who had UFE for treating fibroids did not differ significantly from healthy women without fibroids. Furthermore, the complication rate was much lower compared to women with fibroids who did not treat fibroids or chose only medication as a treatment method.
Equally important is the fact that the UFE procedure is covered by most insurance, including government-sponsored plans.
The UFE Procedure And Pregnancy
Pregnancy after UFE is not the only positive outcome of the procedure; it can also solve other unpleasant symptoms that fibroids can cause before and during pregnancy.
In our practice, dozens of stories have been shared about how women gave birth to healthy children after UFE, although they suffered numerous previous miscarriages or had been advised by another doctor that they needed a hysterectomy.
One of our patients had four miscarriages before having a UFE, and just three months after the procedure, she became pregnant. She became symptom-free, fibroid-free, and a mother!
“Life is too short to be miserable. I tell every woman: don’t give up, especially if you come here; it is just going to be a whole different outcome of life. You’ll be able to have a baby, so do what you are supposed to do and come to get the procedure done. I’m really glad that I came. I was pregnant because of the UFE procedure. It was safe, it was simple, and I am in a better position in my life after I had the baby. I still feel good. If I had not come here, I would not be holding my daughter in my arms.”
Contact The Atlanta Fibroid Center Today To Learn More About UFE And Fertility
If you have been diagnosed with uterine fibroids and are having fertility issues or have severe fibroid-related symptoms and have been advised to undergo surgery by your OB-GYN, make an appointment with the Atlanta Fibroid Center.
Do not give up on the dream of having children until you have met with our fibroid specialists Dr. Lipman and Dr. Ermentrout. They will review your unique situation, answer your questions, and evaluate your chances of getting pregnant after the procedure. When faced with a decision that not only relates to your health but also the hopes you have for your future, it is important to understand all your options so you can make an informed decision.
For more information about UFE or to make an appointment, please call (770) 953-2600 or make an appointment online.